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Spotlight on Tony Pellegrino

When it comes to dedication and preparation there are very few people out there that can say they have put in more time getting ready for the King of the Hammers than Tony Pellegrino.  If you were to follow his facebook page it would read something like this…  Headed to the hammers, back home tuning on the car, headed back to the hammers, headed to shock test with King, wrenching on the car this weekend, etc, etc, etc.  Preparing for the 2011 King of the Hammers Tony and the GenRight team spent over 30 days on the lakebed making sure everything was just right come race day.  And right it was, the team finished in second place securing a spot for the 2012 King of the Hammers race.

Tony is probably best known around the Off-Road world for the business he runs GenRight Off-Road.  GenRight specializes in jeep aftermarket parts and accessories including a full line of aluminum and steel body armor and the Legend Suspension line.  Based out of Simi Valley, CA the hammers is right in his back yard giving him the opportunity to test the durability of the GenRight products on his stable of jeeps.

Follow along as we get to know Tony a little bit better and understand what makes him tick.

How long have you been competing in Ultra 4 Racing?

2012 will be my 3rd year.

How long have you been racing?

I have been Off Road Motorcycle racing since age 5.

Tell us about your past experiences in the King of the Hammers and where you have finished?

It is a tough race on man and machine, in fact, I did not even realize that you could beat a machine so hard… It is truly an achievement just to finish this race. I can also tell you that there is a lot of testosterone flowing out there and drivers who want to win at all costs! I finished 14th 2009 and 2nd in 2010.

What’s the attraction to racing the king of the hammers for you?

I like the variety of terrain and level of difficulty, beyond most peoples imagination. I also like the unpredictability of the weather around race day.

What’s your favorite part of the king of the hammers?

Competing against the top 100 qualified drivers from around the world in front of all the people who came to watch the race!

How do you physically and mentally prepare for this type of racing?

This is an endurance race. I work out and eat right to be in top physical condition. Mentally your head better be 100% in the game. To get my head in the “game” I do a lot of pre-running. I treat each time I get in the car as if it is race day.

Teamwork is a big part of KOH, Tell us about your team for the King of the Hammers?

I have the greatest team of dedicated people to help me. They are absolutely the key to getting me to the finish line on race day! Everything from race prep to communications on race day every single person on the team has an important job to get us through the race.

How much does strategy play a part in KOH?

Strategy is the name of the game. It is a long day out there and you better pace yourself.

What will it take to win the King of the Hammers in 2012?

Good car, Good driver, Good team work & Luck.

How much does a car vs a drivers ability play into winning the King of the Hammers?

You need to have a good mix. The driver really needs to understand what the car is capable of or the car will break.

If you could race any race in the world what would it be and why?

King of the Hammers is my all time favorite race. I like the mix of skills that it takes to finish this race. I like how the course is different every year and I like how the technology of the vehicles improves every year.

Who is your racing idol and why?

Ivan Stewart – the guy was the Ironman and a stud!

If you had an unlimited budget what would you build to compete in the King of the Hammers?

The car I have now made of lighter materials.

Do you have any advise to give someone who is aspiring to race the King of the Hammers?

Get out there and try to run 4 hammer trails one after the other, then do more. See if you can hang in there. Then if you can mentally and physically do it, get on a pit crew and learn the behind the scenes workings of a team.

Can you tell us about the sponsors and people that have made it possible for you to do this?

I have worked with my sponsors for two years to develop some of the best products available today. I can tell you that Currie Axles, Goodyear Tires, Howe Steering, Walker Wheels, Rugged Radios, Advanced Adapters Atlas T-Case and King Shocks are all top notch companies with products capable of winning the King of the Hammers!

Driver name:    Tony Pellegrino            Co-Driver Name: Bryan Lyttle

Team Name: GenRight Off Road            Car # 4485 (formerly #805)

Age: 47                        Hometown: Simi Valley, CA

Chassis Builder:                     Engine: All Aluminum 426 cu in, 650HP

Transmission:    Built Turbo 350            T-case: Atlas 3.0

Axles F/R: Currie Rock Jock                Lockers F/R: ARB’s

Seats:    PRP                        Shocks: King Coilover / Bypass

Tires: 42” Goodyear MTR’s                Wheels: Walker Evans

About the Author

Mike Lasher is a true Off Road enthusiast down to the core, Growing up in the back seat of a jeep exploring the deserts of Arizona and Nevada, as a kid, as so many of us did. Today Mike spends his free time on the trails with his family and friends in his Kawasaki Teryx or Jeep Wrangler. He also regularly competes in the Best in the Desert series and was second in points in 2009. For more information on mike you can visit www.lashermotorsports.com.

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